Making art often means getting out of the comfort zone.
Alan Henry of Lifehacker explains the science of breaking out of your comfort zone:
Routine and patterns minimize risk. Making something scares us. Creating something inherently feels risky. Who knows if it’ll be good?
The comfort zone feels happy with low anxiety and low stress. This is why most people never make anything.
Slight anxiety helps us. “Optimal Anxiety” increases performance. Too much stress and we do poorly. Comfort is the opposite of productivity. Volunteering as a designer helps me escape my routine. It can feel stressful, yet also I’m helping people.
Regularly facing fear in controlled ways prepares you better for out of control problems according to researcher Brene Brown:
Try this: Venture a new medium, performance art, visual arts, practice new tips. Small tweaks to normal ways of producing art involve exploring your curiosity.
It gets easier to push boundaries the more you do it. Alina Tugend describes this effect of “Productive Discomfort” for the New York Times.
It’s easier to brainstorm if you’re seeking new experiences, new skills. You get used to looking at the world in new ways and question confirmation bias. Old problems will seem new.
Try this: Do old things differently. New restaurants, drive a new route, switch out apps you normally use.
Take small steps
Avoid putting things off. Keep a list of “someday maybes”. Review it regularly to see if they match with your schedule. Always wanted to paint dogs or nudes? What’s the next small step to make that happen.
Take small steps. Set small actions. Weekly daily. Think big in the long-term and small in the short-term. If you want to have a huge gallery show, first you need to slowly make painting
Try this: find clarity through action.
Remember to return to your comfort zone. Have rituals that you return to for comfort.
Try this: Slow down or speed up on decisions that you have to make. Be more spontaneous in areas where you’re usually very planned. Try being more calculated in the parts where you usually are carefree
The Sweet Spot Between Overconfidence and Anxiety
Optimal levels of anxiety tested as middle range by scientist, Business Insider explains. If we’re overconfident, there may not exist enough anxiety to focus and perform the task at hand. With too much anxiety, we’ll have trouble performing even basics of tasks. Self-described worriers tended to have “high levels of brain activity when they made mistakes”. The test became difficult compared to those with less anxiety.
Try this: Actively Practice worrying less. Actively practice worrying less. Working out. Meditate. Question and answer the facts behind your worry. Practice optimism. Seek help – friends, family, therapy.
Try this: Stop Multitasking. Focus on one task at a time. One aspect of one task. Multitasking even hurts well-practiced habits. A 1990's experiment on productivity demonstrated that switching between two tasks slowed participants. The experiment was shared by the American Psychological Association. If a participated repeated the same task again and again, they were better at it. Bilingual individuals matched colors and numbers in their native language versus a second language. Working in their native language became more difficult. Switching goals and changing trains of thoughts is hard! Notice when you get distracted and choose to refocus on one ... Read more
I created my defined list of creative values for myself and for this site and podcast. I was heavily inspired by the manifestos of Gretchen Rubin – author of The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies. Gretchen writes more about how she developed her own Twelve Commandments. What does the phrase "Uncanny Creativity" mean? Since I believe in productivity and action, I chose to make each of my values a key active verb. Gretchen suggests short phrases that you can check and remember: "I’ve found that my commandments help me most when I review them at least daily, to keep ... Read more
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.
Uncanny Creativity: Art & Design Productivity
Also published on Medium.